View box
Title: Hao-kun no Fushigi na Tabi
Genre: Action
Developer: Carry Lab
Released by: Square/DOG
Date: May 1, 1987
Japanese level: 1
MSRP: 3400 yen
Current Price: 2000 yen

Square's stuff seems to go for more than it really should on all consoles, no matter what it is - partly because they're Square and people expect it, and partly because they took so much care in the stuff they included with the game. It's especially noticeable with their DOG Disk System releases, with their full-sized boxes and color manuals. With games like this, though, you can't help but wonder whether's Square's Disk System label name was right after all.

Hao's Mysterious Journey was released by Taxan on the NES as Mystery Quest in 1989 or so with the luxurious intro sequence removed (probably for the better; the intro features some really laughable CGA-style graphics). Taxan didn't have to do much work; the game's messages are already all in English for some reason.

You play the role of Hao, a wizard's apprentice without any real ability who gets sent on a quest for "the most important thing in the world" by his teacher. This translates to you bopping around a side-scrolling world shooting magic balls at bats, crabs and giant rats in castles. Along the way you get special "symbols" (one of them is a no-smoking sign) that give you powers like the ability to break blocks in your way.

Overall this is nothing to blow you away, but if you like old action adventures like I do then you'll at least be entertained to the end.